The Active Aging Grant (AAG) initiative funds community‐based organizations in British Columbia to design and deliver community‐driven health promotion programs for older adults, with an explicit focus on physical activity and social connectedness. In this initiative, we look to understand and examine the implementation of community‐driven health promotion programs aimed to increase physical activity and social connectedness for older adults in remote and rural regions across British Columbia.¹ We use the Framework for Successful Implementation to guide our recruitment of program coordinators and participants. We use semi-structured interview guides to focus on design, delivery, and experience within the program.
In 2015, we have as also formed a partnership with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to fund one-time, small, competitive grants to community organizations that serve older British Columbians. Grant proposals provide innovative ways to support vulnerable seniors to be physically active, enable older adult’s independence and enhance social connectedness.
Funded projects promote:
- movement and physical activities such as use of public transportation, gardening, hiking, walking, dancing, swimming and offer ways to reduce older adult’s sedentary behaviours such as sitting and watching TV;
- older adults’ desire to remain mobile and independent, informed and up-to-date and responsible for their personal affairs
- social connections through social, educational and/or recreational opportunities
- older adults’ ability to meet their physical activity goals
- use of community resources to enrich older adults’ social and physical health
- Sims‐Gould, J, Franke, T, Lusina‐Furst, S, McKay, HA. Community health promotion programs for older adults: What helps and hinders implementation. Health Science Reports. 2020; 3:e144.
In 2018 alone, 28 Active Aging grants were distributed across British Columbia. Programs range from intercultural Qi Gong in Vancouver, to connecting care-givers with volunteer respite support services in Creston, to providing nutritious meals at the social lunch program in Hardy Bay.
For seniors, there are a lot of benefits to participating in leisure activities that are focused on physical activity, including more opportunities to be social, increased independence, improved well-being and a higher quality of life.